31 October, 2011

File System: NTFS or FAT (or FAT32)?

3 USB Flash Drives stacked.Image via Wikipedia31-October-2011

I have not always been so keen on the difference between NTFS and FAT file system. I mean, we apply and implement them in our work PCs and servers, but at home, who cares?

I should. At least now I know why.

Last Friday, I was downloading some worship video songs, and when done, I converted them to .avi format, so I can copy them to a USB drive and play them on the Philips integrated Hi-Fi system equipped with USB drive.

What I did was simply un-use one of my currently plugged USB drives from being a ReadyBoost device. Then I copied over the converted files, unplugged them from my laptop, and plugged them to the Hi-Fi system.

Sure enough, USB is detected, but there isn't any file shown!

I turned off my Hi-Fi system, turned on again, and selected USB input, and it is the same: no files!

I turned to one of the other USB drives still plugged in to my laptop, un-use it from being a ReadyBoost device, copied over the files, unplugged it, then plugged it to the Hi-Fi, and the result is the same!

I verified by copying over the files to other USB drives that are currently used for watching movies, and there they are, the files are showing immediately once USB input is selected.

Then another one was used to verify, an SD card, and the same result was got: the files are being shown and are able to play; these on the SC card and the USB card.

Then I was wondering, "What's the difference?"

Then I remembered, the USB drives that 'don't work' were used as ReadyBoost devices, which were formatted with NTFS file system, while the other USB drive and the SD card, well, they are formatted using FAT/FAT32 file system.

So naturally, I took one of the USB drives that 'don't work', formatted it using FAT32 file system, copied over the same video files, plugged it to the Hi-Fi system, and sure enough, it works!

In case you encounter the same problem, the solution may be the same: FAT or FAT32 file system for your Hi-Fi System, an NTFS for your ReadyBoost. Hey, that is what makes it go past beyond the 4GB limitation.

Till then!

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27 October, 2011

Lotus Notes 6.5 is now working!


I finally managed to get Lotus Notes 6.5 work on the GX520 – and on the Probook 4430s laptop!

The reason was actually very simple, and so uncomplicated, that it is almost shameful to be told.

Anyway, after so many days and weeks of trying and trying, searching and searching, tweaking, installing, uninstalling, reinstalling, and I was losing my patience, particularly today, and was at the point of giving up on this thing, I prayed for strength to go on, and patience to keep me cool, but most importantly, wisdom to at least know and understand what I am doing.

To begin with, I checked how the working PC is faring.

I opened the Visual Studio IDE on both computers to see what variables are getting populated, and with what values.

I did a simultaneous run on both PCs, inserting breakpoints at the same line of code, comparing side-by-side when codes are being executed.

Then I found the differences:

The Lotus Notes document cannot be opened.


The Lotus Notes Database cannot be created.


The password is wrong.

Also, the server is wrong.

So why was I using the .ini file with all the wrong details inside?

These are all defined in the .ini file which I copied from the GX520 PC, which is not used as a primary mini-server machine, but it was a development machine, and while the codes would be verified before deployed, that was before the server and account was changed. And with a code that isn’t very dynamic, there wasn’t any need to update the files now and then. That’s the bug that bit me.

I stepped through the code backwards, and here are the errors as encountered:

Object reference…” when the document cannot be opened.

When I tried to define a new Notes DB object by the ‘new’ directive, I got “80040154”.

When I searched about this error code, I found something like registering nlsxbe.dll, which I did, but the same error code/cause was thrown: 80040154.

Somewhere, maybe in quiet desperation, coupled with a slower movement on the code check, I managed to step through the line that initializes the Notes Session, which calls the login function, which was requiring the user, password, and of course, the server name.

I saw it from there, like a snake waiting to bite me if I ever stick my head in…

So a simple problem what needed a long time to get fixed, but it is all done now.

Lotus Notes object is not a problem anymore in my desktops and in my laptop (GX280, GX520 and Probook 4430s).

This may not be the case for still many others who are struggling with Lotus Notes 6.5 out there, but that number is one less now…

Till then!

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24 October, 2011

Readyboost more than 4GB?

The 536,870,912 byte (512×2 20 ) capacity of t...Image via Wikipedia
24-Oct-2011, 8.30am:

Today I discovered that Readyboost size can be extended to more than 4GB!

I was actually not expecting this, as much of the articles found on the web sets the limit of Readyboost cache memory size to 4GB, no more than that. But as I have tried today on my laptop (Probook 4430s) and 2 others desktop PCs (GX280 and GX520 models), the size is no longer limited to 4GB.

I plugged in one 8GB thumb drive on the GX280 machine, and dedicated the whole drive to Readyboost, and it was accepted. The amount recognized is about 7584MB (7.47GB).

On the GX520 machine, I put in two: a 4GB drive, and one that is 8GB. The 4GB drive came up with about 3804GB (3.76GB), while the 8GB drive reserved about 7562MB (7.45GB) space.

On my laptop, I employed an 8GB thumb drive, and a 16GB Sd card. Both being dedicated to Readyboost, the 8GB drive gave a 7562MB (7.45GB) available size, while the 16GB SD card came up with about 15196MB (14.9GB) available space.

If what I'm thinking is correct, this is indicating that we no longer need a very huge RAM size. Just the baseline 4GB fitting will do. And if you need to jack that up, then buy one 16GB SD card, plug it in, set it to dedicated Readyboost usage, and you have a very huge cache memory to play with!

Of course, this is all that I am seeing right now, but before 64-bit, or even Windows 7 or Vista, RAM size was limited to 2/3GB, and the 'extra' that you may have physically isn't used! That is no longer the case these days. And while 32-bit memory addressing is causing the limitation of using up to 4GB RAM only, with 64-bit, that is not the case.

And we are no longer talking about RAM being expensive, but between adding RAM and using SD card or thumb drive, I would be avoiding RAM-adding when I already have 4GB, which could mean dismantling the laptop casing or opening the desktop chassis, when I could just simply plug in an alternative thumb drive or SD card. We actually should be talking about which is cheaper and faster to employ, with less hassle and less opportunity for error and mishandling, etc., etc., etc.

So how's that? Where will this Readyboost technology lead us?
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21 October, 2011

The search toolbar that looks like a cigarette

Bing-Google ReversionImage by imjustcreative via Flickr
Did you ever notice how the Bing toolbar actually resembles a Marlboro cigarette?

Look again...

I'm thinking it is actually a way to catch some users who smoke... a mimic of something that they are so familiar with...

Till then!

Employing Windows XP Logon Screen in Windows 7

The welcome screen in Windows 7 beta, which is...Image via Wikipedia

Yesterday, I spent some 2 hours at our End User Support area, and one of the things that our main guy, the one doing all the OS installation and setup of individual and production PCs and laptops, was the user acceptability of Windows 7 for the general user group.

Mainly, the big difference between Windows 7 and Windows XP is right from the start: the Logon screen.

In Windows XP, users are so used to seeing 3 boxes:
In Windows 7, you don't see the boxes, but you either see the name of the last logged user, and a box for the password, or you get 2 choices: the last logged user, and 'switch user'. Now, laying aside all questions of intelligence and common sense, an average user (and sometimes even a geek) would never try to guess and attempt clicking on the 'switch user' icon. Especially if that is their orientation, don't play-play.

So now you get the picture - will Windows 7 be accepted easily? It is like saying, go into that new house, there are better things there - and the average tenant can't even figure out how to open the gate...

Keystroke Logger and Computer Monitoring Software

Is there a workaround?

I told him I didn't knew about this problem, since in out team, we are on 99.9% single-user PC/laptop usage ratio. But things are different in the production line. And I said I would look it up in the web.
I did find some very simple solutions, applicable to both Windows Vista and Windows 7, and while the approach may be different between the flavors of Windows 7, the effect is the same.

Here goes:
  1. Click on Windows 7 pearl (hey, it isn't a button anymore).
  2. Type secpol.msc and hit [Enter] (that's for Security Policy).
  3. At the left side, click on Local Policies, then on Security Options.
  4. Then at the right side, click any item, then press "i". That brings you to the list of items beginning with "I".
  5. The main item to Enable is: "Interactive logon: Do not display last user name".
  6. Enabling this is optional: "Interactive logon: Do not require CTRL + ALT + DEL". Enabling this means users will immediately see 2 boxes at the logon screen: username and password.
  7. Close window, and we are done.


I managed to apply these to 2 desktop PCs, and my laptop. I'm just happy that with this simple solution, the objective can be met.

As for the laptop, it isn't exactly the same screen, because there is an additional option for logging in: biometrics sensor.

Hopefully, we are helping to get Windows 7 less resisted but more accepted in the line.
Till then!

18 October, 2011

FCC Test to Measure Cellphone Radiation Flawed, Group Says

Pictogram: use of cellphones is prohibitedImage via Wikipedia(WASHINGTON) -- A government test used to measure the radiation people absorb from their cellphones might underestimate the levels to which most adults and children are exposed, according to a group of doctors and researchers whose stated mission is to promote awareness of environmental health risks they believe may be linked to cancer.

Researchers from the Environmental Health Trust released a report Monday morning noting that the Federal Communications Commission test to determine radiation exposure is flawed.

The reason for the discrepancy, the group says, is that the process to determine radiation exposure from cellphones involves the use of a mannequin model that they say approximates a 6-foot-2, 220-pound person. Because the model represents only about three percent of the population, the authors report, the test will not accurately predict the radiation exposure of the other 97 percent of the population, including children. The group is pushing for a new testing system to measure radiation exposure in a wider range of consumers.

"The standard for cellphones has been developed based on old science and old models and old assumptions about how we use cellphones, and that's why they need to change," said Dr. Devra Davis, former senior adviser in the Department of Health and Human Services under the Clinton administration and one of the report's authors.

A different study cited in the report says a child's bone marrow absorbs 10 times the radiation as an adult. The authors also raise questions about long-term side effects, such as infertility in males who carry phones in their pockets, an exposure unaccounted for in the traditional certification process.

The authors suggest an alternative certification process, one that uses MRI scans to test real humans, including children and pregnant women. Such an approach would provide exposure data on a "Virtual Family," representing all ages, the authors say.

The U.S. government has had no specific comment on the report. The cellphone industry group CTIA-The Wireless Association said that because members "are not scientists or researchers on this topic," the news media should contact experts instead.

But whether the low level of radiation from cellphones actually causes cancer is a question that has yet to be answered. "No scientific evidence currently establishes a definite link between [cellphones] and cancer or other illnesses," the FCC says on its website.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Taken from WTMA.com; source article is below:
FCC Test to Measure Cellphone Radiation Flawed, Group Says

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Domino 6.5 ain't runnin' in Windows 7 (Laptop)

Latitude "Notebook"Image by Annie Mole via FlickrHP ProBook 4430s - Right SilverImage by HP PSG APJ via Flickr
I basically stopped posting articles on my blogs for a variety of reasons.

Sometime in early September, I was issued a laptop, an HP ProBook 4430s, so that they can take away my old desktop - hey, that what I was told!

And I was in the heat of installing and tweaking and customizing things, when after so many tries, I have given up: Domino 6.5 breaks in Windows 7 (laptop).

I know, a couple of weeks earlier to my getting a laptop, I was bragging about making Domino 6.5 work in Windows 7 (Windows 7 and Lotus Domino 6.5) - which is althemore, on an old Dell desktop PC. I didn't knew that it would all be completely different with a laptop. Took me almost a week of doing with the laptop what I did with the desktop to make Domino 6.5 work, but success eluded me everytime.

When I reached the end of my rope, after about 2 weeks, even trying out Domino 8.xx, I told my boss - the laptop I have no use for it, since the major programs I am maintaining is running with Domino 6.5 - which doesn't run.

Basically, Domino 6.5 is "seen" by Visual Studio 2005 and Visual Studio 2010. It can be called in. It can be referenced. But when I run the code, I get "null" errors, indicating that the object has not been instantiated.

Now in our company, we are issued either an HP machine, or a Dell counterpart. Another member of our team also got a laptop, and it was getting ready for deployment (meaning, to be used by the user, whose old desktop will also be taken away...), so my boss made a proposal.

Can I try it out on the other laptop? Maybe it was brand-sensitive, or maybe.... what?

Anyway, I yielded - that is what I was already thinking of doing a week after the unsuccessful tests - and the would-be owner agreed.

I tried, and guess what? The same error I got! So whether it is an HP ProBook 4430s, or a Dell Latitude E5420, if it is running in Windows 7, Domino 6.5 can't run. That's for my case.

As for the old Dell desktop PC, a dying GX280, which I got to reformat and reinstall Windows 7 Enterprise edition, 32-bit OS, I was able to apply the whole fix that I documented weeks back, and Domino 6.5 is able to run. So it's all on the laptops, I suppose... eh?

These are the specs, to be more precise:
Windows 7 Enterprise edition, 32-bit (64-bit ain't the right fit yet, dude!)
> desktops, laptops, they all get the same OS

And the very reason why we can't use 64-bit OS, is that we are still running Oracle 8i systems! And the upgrade isn't a time within reach, my man.

Finally, 64-bit ain't no use, since we only have 4GB RAM in our machines. I just made a good alternative to Windows 7, speeding up my processes by employing Readyboost - 2 pieces of 8GB thumbdrives plugged into my new laptop - now that's something!

The grapes are not so sour after all...